The International Trade Secretary and prominent Leave campaigner now fears the Brexit “dream” may never happen in the wake of reports some of Mrs May’s closest allies are now demanding a second referendum. He told the Sunday Times: “For me the worst possible outcome of this process would be no Brexit. “It’s a sad fact that there are a number of people who would rather see Britain fail than Brexit succeed. “It’s a great pity – almost a tragedy – that they are so unreconciled to the results of the referendum.”
Yesterday, Mr Fox also warned there is a 50-50 chance Mrs May’s deal will be blocked by Remain MPs and called on them to back the Prime Minister, insisting it was a “matter of honour” to support her.
Asked if the UK would leave the EU as scheduled, he said: “What you can be sure of is that if we vote for the Prime Minister’s deal then it is 100 percent certain that we will leave on March 29.”
He added: “If we do not vote for that, I’m not sure I would give it much more than 50-50.
“And for me that would induce a sense that we had betrayed the people that voted in the referendum.”
Mrs May was forced to cancel a vote earlier this month and return to Brussels to secure further concessions in the face of an almost certain defeat.
Mr Fox’s warning comes as former Brexit Secretary David Davis said he expected defeat for Mrs May’s plan to force the UK and the EU back to the negotiating table.
Mr Davis told LBC radio: “They will have to come back and deal again. The deal she’s got is no good.
“It will be very, very nerve-wracking for some people and some companies, but at the end of the day we will get a deal and it will be a better one than she has got. That’s where I think it will go and that’s what I think she should do.”
Under the exit deal agreed by Mrs May the UK will automatically fall into a customs union ‘backstop’ with the EU if a new trading relationship can’t be established during the transition period, currently set at 21 months.
Should this happen Britain will struggle to sign comprehensive trade deals with third countries, and will still have to implement a significant proportion of EU legislation despite having less say over its content.